Best handheld CB radio: Unbeatable portable CB radio options
The best handheld CB radio is an excellent investment for a dedicated hobbyist. The biggest challenge is often choosing which handheld CB radio is right for you.
Handheld CB radios are great for people who like experimenting with radio frequencies, or those who need a simple walkie-talkie device. Though the technology has been around since the mid-1940s, CB radios remain a popular product to this day.
Modern CB radios come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. The best solutions are often easy to use, compact, and packed with bonus features, like insights into road conditions and weather. Many CB radios can also connect to emergency weather reports, to keep users informed on the move.
Our top handheld CB radio choices are:
- Uniden SX-407-2CKFHS (best walkie talkie)
- Cobra MR HH350 FLT (best waterproof)
- Midland GXT1000VP4 (best value pack)
- Mirkit Extra Baofeng Radio (best for pros)
- Standard Horizon HX980 (best compact)
- Uniden PRO401HH professional (best ease of use)
- Baofeng UV-5R (best for options)
- Retevis T55 marine radio (best for boats)
- Uniden MHS75 waterproof (best durability)
1. Uniden SX407-2CKFHS (best walkie talkie)
A popular brand among users in search of the best handheld CB radio, Uniden offers an excellent combination of reliability and simplicity.
Built to suit a host of environments, the Uniden SX407-2CKFHS set contains two long-range walkie-talkie CB radios, with around 40 miles of coverage in a flat environment (with no buildings).
There are 22 channels in total to explore, 142 privacy codes, and a range of direct calling codes too.
For extra peace of mind for those working in various environments, the Uniden handheld CB radio also comes with NOAA weather channel connectivity. The weather channel functionality will ensure you’re always aware of dangerous weather.
- 142 privacy codes and direct call codes
- 22 channels
- NOAA weather alerts
- 40-mile range
- LED emergency flashlight
- AA rechargeable batteries
- Headphone compatible
- IPX4 for splash-proofing
- Charging cable
The set of long-range handheld CB radios from Uniden feature an IPX4 splash resistance to help protect the devices against rain and sweat. A dual charging cable also means it’s easy to recharge your devices between shifts.
- Up to 40 miles of range
- NOAA weather alerts
- Industry-standard frequency support
- IPX4 water resistance
- Multiple calling codes
- Not the longest battery life
- Can lose connectivity around buildings
2. Cobra MR HH350 FLT (best waterproof)
A handheld CB radio is excellent for keeping teams connected in a variety of environments. To get the best results, you need a device capable of withstanding all kinds of scenarios. This Cobra MR HH350 FLT radio is a marine-level solution designed for long and short-range communication.
The fully submersible radio can access NOAA weather channels, and scan channels instantly to find conversations faster.
There’s a quick-dial solution to channel 16 for emergencies, and a tri-watch feature so you can monitor three channels at once.
You can also expect clear communication with a vibration feature to empty water out of the speaker grill in seconds. The sea-ready solution is also designed to float, with an IPX7 waterproof rating.
- Covers channels in the US, Canada and internationally
- Automatic channel scanning
- Tri-watch to check three channels at once
- Sea ready with floating design
- Clear communication with vibration feature
- IPX7 waterproofing
- Noise-cancelling microphone
- Charger included
- Spring-loaded belt clip and wrist strap
The IPX7 waterproofing means your Cobra handheld CB radio can survive submersion in water for up to 30 minutes at up to a meter in depth. You’ll also get a spring-loaded belt clip and a wrist strap to help keep your device close to hand.
- Excellent coverage
- Automatic scanning and tri-watch feature
- IPX7 waterproofing with floating core
- Included accessories
- Excellent communication with noise-cancelling mic
- Not the best at tracking battery
- Buttons are a little small
3. Midland GXT1000VP4 (best value pack)
If you’re browsing handheld CB radio reviews, you may be looking for a value pack to bring multiple devices together and connect your entire team. This Midland handheld radio set is an excellent choice for supporting an entire group at once.
Each small, handheld CB radio features 50 GMRS channels, along with an automatic channel scanning feature to check for voices.
There’s JIS4 waterproofing protection, so you don’t need to worry about issues with communication in the rain. A 36-mile range also ensures you can enjoy smooth communication in open areas with minimal obstruction.
Easy voice and sound activation combine with 9 sensitivity levels for excellent hands-free performance
- 50 GMRS channels
- 36-mile range
- 9 sensitivity levels
- 142 DCS/CTCSS codes
- NOAA weather scan and alerts
- Automatic scanning
- Boom microphone headsets included
- Belt clips and chargers included
With hundreds of channel options to choose from, the Midland CB handheld radio is an excellent option for all kinds of teams. You’ll even get the added benefit of NOAA weather scanning, to keep users up to date with emergency weather alerts.
Plus, the radio kit comes with a host of accessories, like desktop chargers, boom mic headsets, and belt clips.
- Excellent value for a pack of four
- Great long-range connectivity
- Easy to use with automatic scanning
- Accessories included (like belt clip)
- Support for NOAA weather channels
- Very heavy for handheld radios
4. Mirkit Extra Baofeng radio (best for pros)
A handheld CB radio can sometimes offer access to HAM radio features too. These devices generally require more knowledge and device insight to work effectively.
Fortunately, the Mirkit Extra kit comes with everything you need to get started. The Baofeng UV5R MK5 handheld radio has an additional battery and a radio microphone included. You’ll also get a programming cable and lanyard.
The fully certified kit from Mirkit ensures you can connect to a host of broadcasts using the MK5 max power technology. Extra-long battery life also means you’ll have the freedom to use your radio for as long as 5 days with no problem.
Aside from listening to various radio connections, you’ll also be able to create private connections for a local team.
- Handheld CB radio with extra battery
- Fully certified by the FCC
- Battery life of up to 5 days
- Excellent rechargeable device
- USB slot connectivity
- Programming and tuning firmware
- Included connector cable
- Hands-free communications
Popular among a range of professional groups on the field, like security services and police offers, the Mirkit Extra is one of the most advanced handheld CB radios around. The excellent battery life, and access to a shoulder connector for hands-free use make life with this device easier than ever.
- Extra battery included
- Firmware and programming cable included
- Recharge through USB, solar panel, or car
- Ideal for access to all kinds of channels
- Manual included for guidance
- Very complicated for beginners
5. Standard Horizon HX980 (best compact)
A great portable handheld CB radio needs to be as small as possible, so it doesn’t take up too much room in your daily uniform. The Standard Horizon HX980 radio system is an excellent pick for compact performance, featuring all the tools you need, including a rechargeable Li-Ion battery.
There’s a PC programming cable too, for setting up your own channels.
With a range of power output options to choose from, the Standard Horizon CB radio will appeal to those with existing experience. There’s a noise cancelling function for clear communication. What’s more, users can also rest assured their device will hold up well in wet conditions.
IPX8 waterproofing means you can submerse your radio in water, and it’ll still work.
- Charging cradle, programming cable and lanyard included
- Range of power output options to choose from
- IPX8 waterproofing and floating design
- Compact and ergonomic design
- Day and night display mode
- MOB feature for ships and boats
- Strobe light for emergency location
- Automatic scanning
- NOAA weather channels
- FM radio receiver
With access to FM radio for entertainment, and a host of emergency features for peace of mind, the Standard Horizon CB radio has it all. Features like an automated strobe light and man overboard feature makes this device a perfect pick for those spending their time on the ocean.
NOAA weather channels also ensure you’ll always be aware of any emergency weather alerts.
- NOAA weather channels
- Day and night display mode
- IPX8 waterproofing with floating design
- MOB feature and other safety measures
- FM radio receiver
- Can be a little tricky to use
6. Uniden PRO401HH professional (best ease of use)
One of the most powerful handheld CB radio options around, the Uniden PRO401HH delivers peace of mind and simplicity for modern radio users. This simple handheld device gives you an excellent amount of range, so you can always stay in touch with the people who matter most.
A low power setting also assists with converting battery life, while a high-power setting allows you to extend your range whenever necessary.
Flexible and easy-to-use, this Uniden radio will operate on any of the 40 CB radios authorized by the FCC. Wherever you are, the high-performance connectivity will offer excellent peace of mind.
The lightweight and compact design also means it’s easy to simply throw your radio in a backpack before any trip. A switch in the device allows you to switch between standard or rechargeable batteries.
- Excellent range with a “high performance” mode
- Low power setting to reduce battery use
- Access to 40 FCC-approved channels
- Compact and lightweight design
- Conveniently placed controls
- Rechargeable or standard batteries
- Antenna included
Though not the most advanced handheld CB radio we’ve seen, the Uniden is a fantastic choice for those in search of quick and easy radio performance. With this device, you can rest assured you’ll never lose track of the other people in your group.
- Useful high and low-performance mode
- 40 FCC-approved channels
- Compact and lightweight
- Very easy to use
- Great for range
- Better at receiving than transmitting
7. Baofeng UV-5R (best for options)
One of the better-known names in the world of long-range handheld CB radio technology, Baofeng is a popular choice among professionals. This UV-5R handset comes with access to 128 channels in total, including a dual-frequency display, dual standby mode, and independent band operation.
The device will automatically search through channels on your behalf and allow you to set up emergency alerts for instant access to information.
Aside from offering a comprehensive CB radio experience, the Baofeng also comes with a host of bonus capabilities. You can program your device to connect to new channels via your PC with CHIRP technology.
There’s an LED flashlight for emergencies, and a high/low power switch.
- Multi-color background light
- Emergency alert
- LED flashlight
- High-low power performance
- Manual programming with CHIRP
- Lock channel feature
- VOX grade selection
- Access to 128 channels
Though the Baofeng will require a little more professional knowledge to operate at full capacity, it’s an excellent product for pros. This solution gives you plenty of options for how to use your CB radio. There’s even support for quick programming through your PC, thanks to CHIRP access technology.
- Emergency alert and LED flashlight
- Support for quick programming features
- Lock channel access
- More than 100 channels to explore
- Excellent functionality
- Can be complex for beginners
8. Retevis T55 marine radio (best for boats)
There are plenty of different ways to use a handheld CB radio these days. One of the most popular options, is to use your radio as a solution for ensuring safety and security on boards.
The Retevis RT55 is a marine-ready product with a floating design, so even if you drop your device overboard, you can still retrieve it with ease.
The self-contained device even helps to drain excess water from the microphone and speaker, with a vibration system to jolt moisture out of the technology. With the Tetevis, you’ll have access to wide frequency cover across Canada and the USA, as well as support for international marine channels.
Tri-watch functional also ensures you can track multiple frequencies at once. There’s also an NOAA alarm for weather alerts.
- Backlit LCD screen for visibility
- Durable and rugged design
- Tri-watch function
- Hot button for instant access to frequencies
- NOAA weather alarm
- USA, Canada, and international connections
- 100% floating design
- Self-contained drainage function
- Easily eliminate water entering the radio
The Retevis T55 marine radio is a state-of-the-art, durable CB radio, perfect for life on the water. The LCD screen even features a convenient backlight so you can view channels in any situation. What’s more, the clarity can also be adjusted in your screen to suit your needs.
- Excellent waterproofing and floating technology
- Wide frequency range
- Tri-watch function for watching multiple channels
- NOAA weather alarms
- LCD screen with backlight
- No programmable options
9. Uniden MHS75 waterproof (best durability)
Another excellent Uniden handheld CB radio, the MHS57 is a beautiful waterproof device designed to give you more control over your communication strategy. The two-way marine radio is rugged enough to handle knocks and bumps with ease.
High-level waterproofing also ensures you can continue to use your device after submersing it in water for up to 30 minutes. Users can even jump between multiple power options when transmitting with their radio.
The MHS75 covers all major channels in the USA, Canada, and international market. The device is ideal for tuning into marine channels to stay up to date on what’s happening with other boats in your area.
You can also set up a “triple watch” function, for monitoring multiple frequencies at the same time.
- Access to Canadian, USA, and international channels
- Triple channel watch function
- Multiple transmission power options
- Waterproof and submersible
- Suitable for rugged daily use
- Clip-on DC charger
- Excellent memory channel scan
- NOAA weather channel support
Making it quick and easy to find the channels you need, the Uniden radio can automatically scan a range of frequencies looking for voices. The device also comes with NOAA weather channel access, so you can always be aware of any dangerous weather conditions coming your way.
- Support for all kinds of channels
- Triple watch functionality
- Submersible, waterproof, and rugged
- Memory and automatic scan
- NOAA weather channels
- Not the most durable belt clip
Choosing the best handheld CB radio
Choosing the best handheld CB radio isn’t always easy. Many handheld CB radios can look similar at first glance. The majority look like simple walkie talkies, and some have extra features and buttons which might make them appear more daunting than appealing.
Choosing your handheld CB radio best buy means considering your requirements carefully.
Some points to consider include:
How far can the radio cover before cutting out or losing signal. If you’re using your device to connect with other people in your area, then you’ll need to ensure the transmission range is long enough to handle your needs.
A noise-cancelling microphone is often a must-have for a good CB radio, particularly if you’re communicating in less ideal conditions. Look for a device capable of sending your voice through to your contacts as clearly as possible.
Whether you’re using your CB radio on-land or in water, you need a device capable of withstanding all kinds of conditions. Look for something with an excellent waterproofing rating and a high-quality design.
Your display will give you access to all the information you need about the channels you’re watching or scanning. Backlit screens are often best for clarity and visibility in any environment.
An automatic channel scan function and the option to save channels to memory are excellent features. You may also want to look for things like tri-watch functionality to monitor multiple channels at once.
Some devices will allow you to program your radio to pick up additional channels. This does require some specialist knowledge, but it’s crucial for those who want a more advanced CB radio.
The best CB radios need to be able to continue working for as long as you’re outdoors. A strong battery life or multiple ways to charge your radio can be extremely useful. Look for a device with its own charging dock.
On top of all these considerations, you can also look at things like whether your CB radio comes with accessories like a belt clip for portability, and how easy it is to dial into frequencies.
The size and portability of your handheld CB radio is likely to come to mind too. The more portable a device is, the easier it will be to take with you into all kinds of scenarios.
If you’re looking for another type of portable or pocket radio, check out the other articles we have here on Radio Fidelity for more guidance.
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